HERITAGE HARBOUR -- In Heritage Harbour, Manatee County's second-largest master planned community, more than half of the 5,000 homes approved for the community have been built.
But only 28,000 square feet of more than 1 million square feet of approved retail or office space has been built, according to the annual report filed by the developer with Manatee County.
Resident reaction to the lack of retail so far is mixed.
John Larranaga, who has been a resident of Heritage Harbour for 10 years, said he is not concerned by the absence of retail in his community.
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"I say be careful what you ask for. If commercial comes in here in my lifetime, will it be what I want?" he asked.
Besides, there are plenty of retail and restaurant options just a few miles away, and more coming, he said.
"There is a giant sucking sound coming from University Parkway, and that is the huge mall being built down there," Larranaga said.
Heritage Harbour resident Tom Bakalar was even more succinct.
"If they never built anything commercial, I am fine with that. I like it just fine the way that it is," Bakalar said.
Michelle Patterson, how
ever, said that Heritage Harbour has not panned out as the developer promised.
"I would love to see more retail for this area. A mini Main Street like Lakewood Ranch has would absolutely upgrade this area," she said.
Patterson was also disappointed to hear that the annual progress report indicates that Lennar Homes is seeking to remove plans for a proposed 12-acre marina and replace it with a residential neighborhood complete with boat slips.
Lennar Homes could not be reached for comment.
Heritage Harbour is at the northeast corner of State Road 64 and Interstate 75, is rising from the former 2,496-acre Harllee Ranch.
Since construction started in 2000, 2,824 homes, including single-family detached, single-family attached or semi-attached, and multi-family, have been built there,
During the March 21, 2013, to March 20, 2014, reporting period, 47 single-family detached homes and 158 multi-family homes were added to Heritage Harbour, according to the report.
None of the 851,900 square feet of retail space approved for construction between 2000 and 2017 has thus far been built.
Sarasota Memorial Health Care Center, 1040 River Heritage Blvd., accounts for all of the office space constructed so far. The health care center opened in 2009.
A traffic analysis contained in the annual report indicates area roads are easily handling traffic generated by the community.
Shelly Hamilton, principal planner for Manatee County, said the county has until April 16 to complete comments on the report, which is required of the Development of Regional Impact.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053.